The science around antiperspirant safety is inconclusive
. Some studies suggest that the aluminum in antiperspirants can be absorbed through the skin, impacting the lymphatic system and increasing risks of certain cancers. Other studies say the opposite. Like many things in life, the answer is "it's complicated." In general it may be worthwhile to avoid antiperspirants unless excessive sweating is a real issue, or whether specific occasions (i.e. public presentation) justify their use. Deodorants tend to be laden with chemicals, the science around which is often "inconclusive."
We'll explore the history of talc later in this article, but part of the story around talc is that companies using it in their products suppressed evidence
that it may be harmful. Most consumer good companies operate on short term earnings cycles, with a fiduciary responsibility to show investors they are selling more goods. This means that questions like the long term implications of their products on consumer health can be set to the backburner. This is how cancer-causing chemicals can be found in 98 major brands
of shampoo, many of whose manufacturer say that the science is, you guessed it, "inconclusive."
The New York Times Editorial Board released a statement
in 2019 that said, "Thousands of chemicals, in billions of dollars worth of products, are being governed by regulations that haven't been updated in decades." There is a lot of money on the line, and powerful incentives for companies to ignore evidence that their products may be causing harm, especially if the data is inconclusive. With this in mind, it may be best to avoid chemicals in personal care products wherever possible. If natural body powder and natural deodorant can do the job, and if a natural body powder can also be a natural deodorant, it may be best to go with that, avoiding the "inclusives" around chemicals altogether.